Unraveling Broken Threads: Chapter 10

Chapter 10

A long chapter guys, after quite some time now. Hope it is worth the while. In case you aren’t sure where to begin, here is the first chapter. If you would like to refresh your minds in what happened last, the previous chapter is here. So here it goes…..

*

That was the first time Jennifer visited Nick’s house and she was sure it was love at first sight. It was located on the boundaries amongst some high standing trees. The house was large, the white exterior made it look larger. The ground floor had a glass wall facing the driveway, which held two SUV’s there. Beyond the driveway was a majestic garden, which had a dining table set in the centre. She felt that she was living a life of simplicity when compared to his, as a result of which she shuffled her legs consciously and slowed down.

‘Come on in, Jen!’ he called out, marching ahead, followed by Alex whose jaw had dropped down.

‘Why can’t we just sit here in the lawn and work? It’s nice outside,’ she suggested, the volume decreasing every word. She was thrilled and wanted to see more, making her statement unheard. As she entered the house, she saw a fiftyish bald man, with a solid paunch sitting on the sofa, alongside a pretty blonde woman with heavy makeup. They appeared to be arguing. On the table in front of them lay a tab.

‘Adam, you don’t get it, the system needs to be updated. Besides, this is so 2010. I need something-’ the woman saw Nick, Alex, Jennifer, and said, ‘Hi kids! Nick, these are your friends?’

‘Hey Mrs, um, uh’ Jennifer cut off. She realized she had never got Nick’s last name. He, however, realized it and muttered, ‘Jones.’

‘Hey Mrs. Jones,’ Alex said confidently, ‘Mr. Jones. I am Alexandra, Alex and this is Jennifer,’ she flicked her hand towards Jenny. ‘We are Nick’s friends. You do have a lovely house.’

‘Thanks Alex. So, you and Nick are friends for a long time? You see, we don’t really get to see Nick’s friends as we travel a lot. We have shifted here for a one-year trial to see if the job suits us. I really miss my little boy sometimes.’ She gazes fondly and Nick who had turned crimson red.

Just somewhere in between a cough and a snort, he said, ‘Mom!’

‘No Mrs. Jones. We just met about a week ago. Actually, Jennifer here is standing the election and we had to plan something, but unfortunately, her sister is throwing a party, and my dad doesn’t like my friends over, so Nick invited us. I hope that’s okay with you?’ Alex replied.

‘No, of course not. Don’t worry Nick, you can go to your bedroom, we’ll have snacks sent over,’ Mr. Jones suggested, his voice very gruff.

‘Thank dad. Listen I’ll have two-three more people coming over, so just send them up, okay?’ he said, already moving toward the stairs.

Jennifer felt stupid. She hadn’t even bothered to find out Nick’s full name. And she was his friend. She felt idiotic. Yet she moved upstairs, sometimes pausing to marvel the house. Finally she reached his room, impeccably clean, everything right where it should be. She was shocked.

‘Listen,’ he switched on his computer, ‘I saw some designs for the posters on the net and they are pretty awesome. I bet Lindsey can make some changes and make them even better. Oh, here they are,’ he said as the butler, as his own private assistant showed three people in his room. She recognised them. There were two boys and a girl. All were tall, slender, and whitish. The girl and one of the boys had strikingly similar features. A straight set nose, and a haughty, arrogant jaw, whose looks were compromised by surprisingly soft brown eyes. They were Lindsey and Lucas. The third boy with them was Al, Lucas’ buddy, she was certain.

‘Hey guys. Thanks for coming.’ All three of them stood up as they wished the newcomers. There were slight murmurs after which an awkward silence spread over the room. Nick stood up and said, ‘Lucas, Lindsey and Al. This is Jennifer, Alex, and they are Lucas, Lindsey and Al. I’ve known them for quite some time now.’

‘Thanks guys, it really means a lot to me,’ Jennifer smiled at them. Lindsey’s face held the same bored look that her brother’s face had. ‘I am contesting the elections this year, all thanks to him,’ she teased, beckoning with her head to Nick. ‘Since I moved to the school only three years ago, I don’t know many people. So, it’d be, um, great if you could, um, help us with that,’ she said with a pause, ‘if you don’t mind.’

Alex responded to their curious eyes, ‘She was at the Open Minds until then,’ referring to the other school in their vicinity.

‘So what do you want us to do?’ Lucas asked broodingly.

‘It’d be great if you could campaign with us,’ Alex volunteered.

‘Why should we?’ Al asked, ‘It’s not like you started talking to us because you suddenly became our friends, right? It’s because you needed our assistance.’

‘It’s not like that-’

‘What do you know of us? There were so many times Lindsey tried talking to you. Like you, she had trouble adjusting. But what did you do? You just ignored her for all you could,’ Lucas accused.

Jennifer turned to Lindsey, who was staring at the floor, a cautious expression on her face. ‘I’m so sorry Lindsey! I’m a stupid person. I don’t know what I do-‘

Lucas interrupted her and said, ‘Sorry Nick, but I can’t help you or your friends. I’m going to just go.’ He turned to Al and Lindsey who stood side by side. ‘You guys coming?’

Lindsey didn’t look up but Al nodded, and they both left and turned. Lindsey held back at moment and then, crossed the thresh hold and left. Jennifer stared at the empty door. Nick slumped down on the chair and closed his eyes. Alex looked out of the window, for once speechless.

Jennifer looked at them and felt that she had led them down. She rushed out the door after the three of them. She met them at the stairs. She tapped Lucas. Momentarily surprised, he recovered his expression, as Al and Lindsey turned. Alex and Nick stood on the door.

‘I know I’m an extremely rude and a mean person. But these guys behind me,’ she pointed at her friends, ‘are great! They’ve worked so hard for me. I may be cruel and cold hearted but I love my friends. Please Lucas, ask me to do anything, but don’t leave. I won’t forgive myself if I let them down. Please, give me a chance to earn your trust.’

She looked at him expectantly. They were surprised at her challenge. Yet, Lucas said, ‘Tell me something about yourself that you want to keep hidden for the rest of your life.’

She took a deep breath. There was something that she didn’t want anyone to know, something she had found out just the same morning. She didn’t want to tell them. But she knew the very things that a person regrets are not what they had done, but what they hadn’t. She didn’t want to spend the rest of her life imagining what her life would have been if she had just told them. This moment.

She answered, ‘I loved my dad a lot. I miss him a lot. I miss those Sundays when we would visit the forest and spend the day there, have picnics and enjoy. I miss how we always stood there for me, whenever I needed a friend. He always said that it was him and me against the world. My mom told me that she kicked him out because he had a girlfriend. She lied. I hate her for that every moment. I saw some documents today morning. They were of my mom’s and dad’s divorce.’ She waited a moment before saying, ‘they were of my and Jules custody. It said that my mom and her boyfriend were perfectly capable of taking care of me without the need for my dad to see me. And the court ordered dad to stay away from me as far away as possible.’

A stunned silence followed. ‘My mom had been lying to me this whole time. It wasn’t my dad who left her for another girl, but my mom who left him,’ she sighed, ‘Does that convince you to not go? Because I’ve got nothing apart from this,’ she said.

‘Yes. That does,’ he nodded, then with a slightly pleased look, he questioned, ‘So, what’s the plan?’

That was the first time Jennifer visited Nick’s house and she was sure it was love at first sight. It was located on the boundaries amongst some high standing trees. The house was large, the white exterior made it look larger. The ground floor had a glass wall facing the driveway, which held two SUV’s there. Beyond the driveway was a majestic garden, which had a dining table set in the centre. She felt that she was living a life of simplicity when compared to his, as a result of which she shuffled her legs consciously and slowed down.

‘Come on in, Jen!’ he called out, marching ahead, followed by Alex whose jaw had dropped down.

‘Why can’t we just sit here in the lawn and work? It’s nice outside,’ she suggested, the volume decreasing every word. She was thrilled and wanted to see more, making her statement unheard. As she entered the house, she saw a fiftyish bald man, with a solid paunch sitting on the sofa, alongside a pretty blonde woman with heavy makeup. They appeared to be arguing. On the table in front of them lay a tab.

‘Adam, you don’t get it, the system needs to be updated. Besides, this is so 2010. I need something-’ the woman saw Nick, Alex, Jennifer, and said, ‘Hi kids! Nick, these are your friends?’

‘Hey Mrs, um, uh’ Jennifer cut off. She realized she had never got Nick’s last name. He, however, realized it and muttered, ‘Jones.’

‘Hey Mrs. Jones,’ Alex said confidently, ‘Mr. Jones. I am Alexandra, Alex and this is Jennifer,’ she flicked her hand towards Jenny. ‘We are Nick’s friends. You do have a lovely house.’

‘Thanks Alex. So, you and Nick are friends for a long time? You see, we don’t really get to see Nick’s friends as we travel a lot. We have shifted here for a one-year trial to see if the job suits us. I really miss my little boy sometimes.’ She gazes fondly and Nick who had turned crimson red.

Just somewhere in between a cough and a snort, he said, ‘Mom!’

‘No Mrs. Jones. We just met about a week ago. Actually, Jennifer here is standing the election and we had to plan something, but unfortunately, her sister is throwing a party, and my dad doesn’t like my friends over, so Nick invited us. I hope that’s okay with you?’ Alex replied.

‘No, of course not. Don’t worry Nick, you can go to your bedroom, we’ll have snacks sent over,’ Mr. Jones suggested, his voice very gruff.

‘Thank dad. Listen I’ll have two-three more people coming over, so just send them up, okay?’ he said, already moving toward the stairs.

Jennifer felt stupid. She hadn’t even bothered to find out Nick’s full name. And she was his friend. She felt idiotic. Yet she moved upstairs, sometimes pausing to marvel the house. Finally she reached his room, impeccably clean, everything right where it should be. She was shocked.

‘Listen,’ he switched on his computer, ‘I saw some designs for the posters on the net and they are pretty awesome. I bet Lindsey can make some changes and make them even better. Oh, here they are,’ he said as the butler, as his own private assistant showed three people in his room. She recognised them. There were two boys and a girl. All were tall, slender, and whitish. The girl and one of the boys had strikingly similar features. A straight set nose, and a haughty, arrogant jaw, whose looks were compromised by surprisingly soft brown eyes. They were Lindsey and Lucas. The third boy with them was Al, Lucas’ buddy, she was certain.

‘Hey guys. Thanks for coming.’ All three of them stood up as they wished the newcomers. There were slight murmurs after which an awkward silence spread over the room. Nick stood up and said, ‘Lucas, Lindsey and Al. This is Jennifer, Alex, and they are Lucas, Lindsey and Al. I’ve known them for quite some time now.’

‘Thanks guys, it really means a lot to me,’ Jennifer smiled at them. Lindsey’s face held the same bored look that her brother’s face had. ‘I am contesting the elections this year, all thanks to him,’ she teased, beckoning with her head to Nick. ‘Since I moved to the school only three years ago, I don’t know many people. So, it’d be, um, great if you could, um, help us with that,’ she said with a pause, ‘if you don’t mind.’

Alex responded to their curious eyes, ‘She was at the Open Minds until then,’ referring to the other school in their vicinity.

‘So what do you want us to do?’ Lucas asked broodingly.

‘It’d be great if you could campaign with us,’ Alex volunteered.

‘Why should we?’ Al asked, ‘It’s not like you started talking to us because you suddenly became our friends, right? It’s because you needed our assistance.’

‘It’s not like that-’

‘What do you know of us? There were so many times Lindsey tried talking to you. Like you, she had trouble adjusting. But what did you do? You just ignored her for all you could,’ Lucas accused.

Jennifer turned to Lindsey, who was staring at the floor, a cautious expression on her face. ‘I’m so sorry Lindsey! I’m a stupid person. I don’t know what I do-‘

Lucas interrupted her and said, ‘Sorry Nick, but I can’t help you or your friends. I’m going to just go.’ He turned to Al and Lindsey who stood side by side. ‘You guys coming?’

Lindsey didn’t look up but Al nodded, and they both left and turned. Lindsey held back at moment and then, crossed the thresh hold and left. Jennifer stared at the empty door. Nick slumped down on the chair and closed his eyes. Alex looked out of the window, for once speechless.

Jennifer looked at them and felt that she had led them down. She rushed out the door after the three of them. She met them at the stairs. She tapped Lucas. Momentarily surprised, he recovered his expression, as Al and Lindsey turned. Alex and Nick stood on the door.

‘I know I’m an extremely rude and a mean person. But these guys behind me,’ she pointed at her friends, ‘are great! They’ve worked so hard for me. I may be cruel and cold hearted but I love my friends. Please Lucas, ask me to do anything, but don’t leave. I won’t forgive myself if I let them down. Please, give me a chance to earn your trust.’

She looked at him expectantly. They were surprised at her challenge. Yet, Lucas said, ‘Tell me something about yourself that you want to keep hidden for the rest of your life.’

She took a deep breath. There was something that she didn’t want anyone to know, something she had found out just the same morning. She didn’t want to tell them. But she knew the very things that a person regrets are not what they had done, but what they hadn’t. She didn’t want to spend the rest of her life imagining what her life would have been if she had just told them. This moment.

She answered, ‘I loved my dad a lot. I miss him a lot. I miss those Sundays when we would visit the forest and spend the day there, have picnics and enjoy. I miss how we always stood there for me, whenever I needed a friend. He always said that it was him and me against the world. My mom told me that she kicked him out because he had a girlfriend. She lied. I hate her for that every moment. I saw some documents today morning. They were of my mom’s and dad’s divorce.’ She waited a moment before saying, ‘they were of my and Jules custody. It said that my mom and her boyfriend were perfectly capable of taking care of me without the need for my dad to see me. And the court ordered dad to stay away from me as far away as possible.’

A stunned silence followed. ‘My mom had been lying to me this whole time. It wasn’t my dad who left her for another girl, but my mom who left him,’ she sighed, ‘Does that convince you to not go? Because I’ve got nothing apart from this,’ she said.

‘Yes. That does,’ he nodded, then with a slightly pleased look, he questioned, ‘So, what’s the plan?’

*

How’d you like it? Is it what you had expected? Like, comment and share to let me know! I hope you look forward to the next chapter. 

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Unraveling Broken Threads: Chapter 9

Chapter 9

After a long wait, I’m finally here with the next chapter of Unraveling Broken Threads. In case you aren’t sure where to begin, here is the first chapter. If you would like to refresh your minds in what happened last, the previous chapter is here. So here it goes…..

*

The next day was better and worse. It was better because she was surer of what she had to do in the next 24 hours. She had, in fact, made a list of all that she had to do:

  • Make new friends.
  • Inform Alex and Nick.
  • Be nicer to people.
  • Talk to the nerdy group.
  • Find Spanish homework

Last night had been a complete emotional pandemonium. What had happened had not been expected. She had fought with her sister, praised her mom and had done things she sure wouldn’t have done in hell. Having been late, she had done her Spanish homework in a bit of a confusion, and wasn’t sure where she had done it now. It was worse because she had no plans on what she would do for the elections. She wasn’t sure what her plans for the elections were, how she was going to beat the peer pressure, and the most important thing, whether she was going to contest them or not. Yet she was sure of one thing, whether or not she was contesting, she still had to make new friends.

She was moving down the stairs into the dining room to look for the homework, when she passed Jules and her mom’s room, which looked like it had been hit by a hurricane. Everything was a mess. She entered the room, and immediately saw her notebook, partially hidden by a quilt. She went in to retrieve it, and noticed some papers sticking out of it, and started reading it when she heard an argument, ‘Mom! This won’t work. You choose, it’s either me or that bitch?’ Jennifer stopped near the stairs.

‘Why do you say that? She’s not as bad as you think she is. In fact, even you never tried making amends with her, did you?’ Some silence. ‘I know, after your dad, it never worked between you two, but that doesn’t mean that you’ll never talk to each other, does it? She’s your sister, after all.’

There was someone sniffing after which Jules said, ‘You know, after she came to my room and started all this nonsense with, and before leaving, you know what she said to me? She said that she had done this all on purpose and that she would like nothing better than to beat her own little sister at the elections. She also said that she’d destroy anything that comes between the batch and her this time,’ a small pause, ‘even me.’

‘What?’ her mother whispered, too shocked to shout, ‘I don’t believe it-’

Some brisk noises came from the room, the closing of a zip, the noise of the cutlery and moving feet. ‘Of course, you wouldn’t. She is your daughter, after all.’

With that, Jules turned around and moved out of the room, where she spotted Jennifer, huddled beside the mirror table, noticed the expression on her face, smirked and moved outside.

Jenny was too shocked to move. She slowly made her way outside, the hunger inside her suddenly evaporated. She switched on her car in a blur, and drove to school, unaware of her surroundings.

‘Jennifer! I tried calling you, like a million times, and then Jules picked up the phone, said you were unwell and that you won’t come to school tomorrow.  I was just coming to visit you this afternoon- What’s up?’ Alex was at her car’s window and seeing the blank expression of her friend’s face made her suspicious.

‘Jules. Apparently, she is contesting the elections too and we had this big fight last night,’ her words were rushed, and she was now choking with emotions, ‘she told mom that I was contesting them on purpose as a way to get back to her and that I would stop at nothing, even if it means, going against her.’

‘Oh honey! I’m sorry. So what do we do now?’ she stepped aside as Jennifer stepped out of the car.

Jennifer covered her face with her hands, then after a minute, smiling, got out of the car, ‘We do what we were doing. Hey Nick!’ she spotted him a hundred yards away and called out to him, at the same time whispering to Alex, ‘Don’t tell him about this.’

‘Hi Jen, Alex! So are you all ready?’ he asked. Then without waiting for an answer, he said, ‘Look, I asked my dad about all these things and he has certain knowledge pertaining to topics like these. He said the first most important thing is to be sure. It is absolutely essential that you are sure of what because you are there to represent. Secondly,’ he increased his pace as he heard the bell ring, ‘you must be convincing. You should be sure that what you do would be beneficial to not just you or me but everyone in the school. Thirdly, you have to have friends. Dad says it is no use having any of one of these three. You should be sure of the decisions you take, you must have people believe in what you are doing is right, and without people believing in you, all you work goes down the drain. So,’ he panted stopping before the classroom, ‘what do you think?’

Jennifer smiled. ‘I think that we’ll talk in lunch today.’

Two hours, forty five minutes later, Jennifer was sitting on the table, her hand twitching nervously as she waited for Nick to return from the table at the end of the room. Her lunch tray, kept in front of her, was untouched. They had just been discussing about the “campaigning” as Nick liked to call it. They had been making a list of what all they’d have to do before the elections, when Nick had strode over to a table of five, at the other end of the café. Nick returned from the table and had flung himself across the seat, when Alex had questioned, ‘What?’

‘Oh that! Lindsey is in Spanish with me and she had a great hand at art. She has gladly agreed to help us with the posters and all. She’d be over at your house after school.’

‘Thanks Nick.’ She turned to her lunch gratefully. Then something clicked and she said, ‘My house?’ she gave Alex a meaningful look.

‘Of course, why?’ Nick asked unaware of this silent exchange.

‘Well, um, uh, it is, uh,’ Alex interrupted, ‘It’s that Jules is having some friends over tonight and they’re partying. It would be difficult. Could we come at your house, because you know of how my father is, right? Please?’ she requested.

‘Sure, I’ll tell Lindsey. Around 7?’ he asked.

‘Yes, fine.’ Both Alex and Jenifer replied in unison, both red to the ears.

*

How’d you like it? Is it what you had expected? Like, comment and share to let me know! I hope you look forward to the next chapter. 

Unravelling Broken Threads: Chapter 8

Chapter 8

April 8, 11 pm

Dear Diary,

Its official, I am contending for the upcoming elections. So is Jules.

I don’t believe I landed myself in such a big mess. I should have never taken that ass seriously. I mean, even though Nick has been good to me and kind and friendly, I know that I can’t do this. Even though things have not been good between Jules and me lately (as usual), she is still my sister. And come to think of her, I’m not she is the one to be blamed.

I have done a lot of things that I’ll regret in the future. Jules, for instance. She hasn’t been the best of sister but she was always willing to work that thing out. The way she hops in my car, when I don’t want her to, the way she tells me stories about herself, sharing the deepest secrets that I pretended not to hear and the way she takes my clothes without asking knowing that I hate it, maybe, feeling that what was mine was hers, and vice-verse. She indulged, but it was me who was a complete ass to her.

The way I’ve treated my mother for example. I never did sympathise with what she felt, how she managed it all. I was too screwed up in my world to have thought of her. She has gone a through a lot worse than I’ve ever had to, and she ensured that. She had her heart broken in the best time of her life and had me. She never socialized, just took my care, changed my diaper, fed me whatever I wanted without a question, took her days off when I was sick and adopted a daughter just to not make me feel insecure. And look what I’ve done. I gave up on her when she needed me the most; I bitched about her at all times, and created strife between the two of us.

I’ve been a complete wreck all this time. I loved my father and all, but it wasn’t their fault that he didn’t come back. It was his. I think it’s time I got over with it. Maybe, then it would be easier for me to remain in the present and work things out than live in the past, and survive amidst broken hearts.

As for the elections, I am still not sure. If I do contest, this won’t do. All this no friends’ attitude won’t work, and I’ll need to rush back to being who I was before dad left. A cheerful girl with loads of friends, and a mom and a sister she loved, and who loved her back. If I don’t contest, I’ll still have to do the same.

Just a little thought, would it hurt Jules if I contested the way I am planning to? Yes, it would. But, it wouldn’t be counted since Jules doesn’t know if I know what she has done. I think it’s about time I thought of something.

Maybe it’s better to be in dreamland, along with our wildest fantasies, where there’s a chance for our wishes to fulfil, than to be here, in reality, where they definitely won’t. Maybe if meet Jules there, she would realize what dilemma I am in at the moment. But I don’t think I would, because she probably would be with her friends and she won’t like them to know that I’m her sister.

Jennifer.

Unravelling Broken Threads: Chapter 7

Chapter 7

At the dining table at the Cruise’s, the table was scattered with papers, bent over them three heads, belonging to Jennifer, Alex and Nick. As soon as Jennifer told them of her plan, both screamed in unison, ‘No freaking way!’

Jennifer had invited Nick to her house to plan their next move. He had gladly agreed, and Jenny had started liking his company very much. He always knew the appropriate thing to say, and when not to. He cracked okay jokes when the atmosphere got too tense. He also contributed good ideas, however crappy they may seem later.

Yet, so far, they had had nothing. Each of them gave ideas which were rejected by either one of the two. And Jennifer was tired. ‘Come on guys, we can’t be hopeless?’ she cried at 7:30 evening by the watch.

‘Yes we are. Listen, it’s getting late. I think we should all sleep over it and think of what to do,’ Nick said, gathering his stuff of the table. ‘Listen, Jules is your sister after all. Maybe you can take some tips, about you know, how to do this.’

‘Thanks, but no thanks,’ she said irritated. Then seeing the expression on his face, she said dejectedly, ‘I’ll think about it,’ she groaned, ‘okay! But this one last time.’

‘Cool, I’ll see you tomorrow at school. Are you leaving too Alex?’ he questioned.

‘Yes, just five minutes. Jenny, I’ll do some research off the internet and see how this is done. I may even talk to Earl,’ her neighbour, who had stood in the city elections as an independent, ‘and I’ll call you later.’

She stood up and left with Nick, who was waiting patiently at the door.

Tired but so, she made her way her way to Jules’ room grudgingly. Her and Adrian’s room was entirely pink, pink carpets, pink walls, pink sofa, pink bed sheets. She felt as though she was entering a parallel universe which was only pink. The main feature of their room was a mirror that covered up the entire wall facing the room, and a small wooden slab that extended along the breadth of the mirror. The slab was littered with bottles of perfumes, nail polish, combs, curlers, and all sorts of beautifying cosmetics ever invented. As she entered, she saw Jules sitting on a small stool, in front of the mirror, straightening her hair. Jules saw Jennifer enter.

‘Aren’t we in the wrong room?’ she commented.

‘No we aren’t. I wanted to ask you something,’ she replied awkwardly, ‘I know we don’t talk and all, but I want to ask you something.’

‘What? Your T-shirt back? I don’t have it,’ she sarcastically said.

‘Well, I’m sorry for that. I was just irritated when you had come, and so I was bad. Listen, how, I mean, what do you do-’ she hesitated, ‘I’ll get straight to the point.’ Rushing forward she said, ‘I have given my name forward to something social. I want to know how you do that. Become popular, that is. Because what I’ve done needs public attention immediately.’

‘What have you done?’ she asked suspiciously.

‘Well, I have, um, offered my name, um for the elections in school. And this can only be done, once I am popular enough to get voted to win.’  Long silence prevailed while Jules digested this, with Jen standing in front of her, her face on fire, literally. She had already hung her face so as to avoid all the color, that had nonetheless, come. Once she felt that the danger had passed, she allowed herself to peek. Jules looked shell shocked, a frown resting on her face, and arms folded above her chest.

Finally, Jules said in an eerily calming voice, ‘You did that on purpose, right? You couldn’t bear to have me enjoy my share of popularity this year now, could you?’

Her words stung, not only because of what she said, but also because of what she meant. However, before she could dwell further on the matter, her sister ordered, and her voice as hard as steel, ‘Get out. Get out before I do something terrible.’

An assortment of emotions made themselves present while Jennifer made her way across the room. On the way to her room, she saw sprawled on the bed, watching the television. Feeling the day wouldn’t be worsened if she talked to her; she went inside, ‘Mom!’

‘Hey, are your friends gone?’ she asked nonchalantly.

‘Yes.’ After some deliberate thinking on the pretence of watching the TV, she asked, ‘I haven’t had the chance to talk to you for a long time now. Everything fine at work, at Jules’ school?’

‘Of course. In fact, things couldn’t be better at the job, and my elder daughter seems to be paying attention to what her mother is saying today, which is as good as a gift that anyone can ever give. Besides that, Jules seems to be getting her mind off the puberty changes and seems to be putting her popularity to good use. So it’s great going for me,’ she informed. After a while, she asked softly, ‘What about you?’

‘Oh I’m fine, just the usual high school drama,’ she answered vaguely, but her mind had stuck on to one sentence that her mother had said, “and seems to be putting her popularity to good use”.  She knew she had to ask. ‘Uh, mom. What did you mean about Jules putting her popularity to good use?’

‘Well, she is going to contest the school elections this year. She got herself written down today, with some Okra woman. She said there is another senior girl who has signed, but she’s pretty confident of herself. She told me that the posts for the treasurer, the secretary and the editor were the most preferred. She said that Mrs Ohra-’

‘Okra,’ Jennifer corrected.

‘- had told her that her chances are pretty high as the other girls are not like her, pretty, smart, popular too.’ She suddenly started, ‘You know, when I was your age, popularity was not important. What mattered was that how good the good was, excelling not only in academics, but sports and drama as well. There were a few things that were a must in the kids selected. Loyalty,’ she counted them off the fingers, ’team spirit, sincerity, integrity, laborious, and lastly, honesty.’ She held up a reminiscent finger, ‘Oh those were good days, they were. No responsibility, no prohibitions, no seriousness, all of us were children that time. I wish you had been there too; you would have enjoyed that time a lot more than you do this one. With everyone loving you for you who are, not who they want you to be. I admire you for that, for your uniqueness. ’ She moved back to the TV.

‘Yeah, me too,’ Jennifer whispered.

Unravelling Broken Threads: Chapter 6

Chapter 6

Jennifer was running in the hallway but she didn’t care. She had done it. She had finally done something that would do her good. And she wanted to tell Alex and Nick first. And she wanted to apologise and thank Nick.

No matter how hard she appeared on the outside, she still had a warm heart. Alex could guarantee you that. No one would let in a girl barely covered and give her bed to sleep and some food to eat. No one would stand up against a drunkard father for a girl they hardly knew. No one would silently cry at night and say how much they miss their devastated family. No one. No one except Jennifer.

She was just in front of Mr. Warner’s room before Nick came out, accompanying Alex.

‘- I wouldn’t tell you where Jennifer is. Please Nick, I am requesting you, please her life is messed up already, she doesn’t need random challenges to trouble her more than she already is.’ She saw Jennifer.

‘Oh god Jennifer! Where were you all this time? I was worried about you sick,’ she said, noticing her expression, as she was staring at Nick’s face. ‘Everything all right?’

‘Yes,’ she said without turning. ‘Would you mind if I talk to Nick privately?’

‘No sure, I’ll meet you in the cafe,’ she said, a little surprised. She turned around and walked away, not turning back once.

As soon as Alex was out of earshot, Jennifer began, ‘Look, I am here for two reasons. Firstly, I want to apologize to you for what happened the other night. I was upset and then you irritated me and I took it all out on you. I know you don’t deserve it. You’re a good guy and sorry. Secondly I want to thank you.’ She put her hand out in front with palms facing Nick as she noticed he was speaking up and said, ‘I wanted to thank you too. For what you said that day, about the elections. I talked to the-’ she gave up on telling her about the counsellor, ‘-thought a lot about it and felt that it would be great for me to move on, which I clearly haven’t.’

She started blabbering then. ‘Of course with my father out of house, a darned mother who doesn’t care about anything, a hypersensitive sister, and you challenging me on top of that, provided you are too good to me and-’ she stopped herself, feeling the color rise in her cheeks as she noticed Nick who wore a confused expression somewhere between amusement and mocking laughter.  ‘Thanks,’ she said finally, ‘would you like to join us for lunch?’ she held out her hand.

‘Yes, sure,’ he smiled and together they walked into the café, past all the tables till they got to one in which Alex was sitting, her eyes wide with disbelief.

‘Hey Jennifer, what’s up?’ she asked.

‘Alex, Nick. Nick, Alex,’ she flicked her hand slightly from one to another, introducing them.

‘Hey Alex, Nice to formally meet you,’ Nick winked. ‘Yeah you too,’ Alex replied embarrassed on the way she had talked to him earlier.

They both picked up their lunch trays and walked to the seats. The great thing was that no one paid slight attention to them, especially Jules and her gang of cheer girls. She was glad to be invisible for once, unheard, unseen and unspoken by all.

‘So, why thank me?’ Nick asked once they had settled down, ‘I mean, it’s not like you’re contesting, right?’

‘Well, that’s where you’re wrong,’ she said teasing him. ‘I had this totally awesome idea last night. We are unpopular nerds, unseen and unspoken. This is our chance to come out of the shell, right? I mean, it’s high time this differentiation between the jocks and the nerds is dissolved. And more than that, it gives hopes to a lot of students who are just like us, who want to make friends, but are just unable to do so?’

‘You got good ideas, Jennifer Cruise. Any idea how you’re going to do it?’ he asked, but she didn’t like the emphasis he laid on how. She had thought about it. Getting yourself registered was just one thing. There are thousand people to influence, to convince and to represent; at least that’s what she had learnt in World Politics.

‘Well, I don’t know. I guess, I’ll start by doing just this,’ she waved her hand over the table.

‘Which is what?’ he asked, biting into his sandwich.

She said, smiling grandly, ‘Making friends.’

Unravelling Broken Threads: Chapter 5

Chapter 5

Jennifer woke up the next morning. She was still lying on the bed when she heard Alex shout, ‘Jenny, come down, it’s getting late.’

She jumped from the bed and made her way to the bathroom, with her eyes half closed and SMACK! She slammed into the door. The bathroom was locked. She cursed, grabbed her secret toothbrush from under the mattress on the bed and started brushing. With a calm peaceful head, she decided how to deal with this whole “Nick Issue” as she had started calling it. Once thing was certain, she would have to contest the elections, there was no way out. She had to prove Nick, Adrian, Jules and Jason wrong.

She made a quick plan. While getting dressed, she took a pen and a pad and wrote down:

Things to do for Elections:

  • Find the school counsellor. Talk about your attitude.
  • Buy school newspaper and find the Election coordinator.
  • Talk to coordinator and sign up as a contestant

She put this list inside her jeans’ pocket and moved downstairs, where Alex was sitting on the dining table with a cereal bowl in front of her, reading the morning newspaper. Jules was applying lipstick looking at a small mirror, and her mom was still in her gown, with a cup of coffee in one hand.

‘Hey there, you slept well?’ Alex asked, smiling as she saw Jennifer coming downstairs. ‘I’ll make you coffee.’

‘Thanks, but I’ll skip, I suppose. I’m not hungry today,’ she said and made her way out of the front door.

She heard Alex packing her stuff and saying, ‘Thanks Mrs. Cruise for letting me stay. I had a really good time.’ She turned on the car and honked, twice.

Alex came out looking hurried, and flushed. ‘What happened?’ Jenny asked. ‘Nothing,’ she replied, and they drove to the school in silence. Finally after they parked at school, Alex said, ‘So girl, I heard you sniffing yesterday night. What’s up?’

‘I have been thinking about it, about what Nick said,’ she said, ignoring the remark.

‘And?’

‘I am going to contest the school elections. And I am going to win,’ she said determined. ‘I’ll talk to the coordinator today. You want to come?’ she asked, stepping out of the car.

‘Na, you go. I have to talk to Mr. Hess about some Trig questions. I’ll see you later,’ she said, and moved away.

Twenty five minutes later, Jennifer was sitting in the counsellor, Mrs. Okra’s office. She had first taken an appointment with the counsellor specifically for the third period, English, so as to avoid talking to Nick. She had purchased the school newspaper as well and had found out, luckily, that Mrs. Okra was also the election coordinator. She could not believe she was doing this. However, she would not back out. The door opened, and Mrs. Okra came inside.

‘Well, well,’ Mrs. Okra said, ‘I was wondering when you’d come in.’ Mrs. Okra was a pretty woman in her late twenties. She had a soft, nasal voice yet, her voice usually had a calming effect on students. It was rumoured at Bowman’s that she wasn’t married but used ‘Mrs’ to keep the students from hitting on her. Presently, she seated herself across the table, in front of Jennifer.

‘Why would that be?’ Jenny asked.

‘You feature in many students’ sessions,’ she said simply. ‘Why are you here?’

‘Well, um, there’s this thing,’ she said hesitatingly.

Mrs. Okra said, ‘There is no need for you to hesitate, love. You can speak out loud. There is no one to listen to you, except me and that’s what I’m here for, so speak up.’

‘Well, I don’t know what to say,’ she finally said. ‘I have a family yet I don’t. My mom kicked out my dad years ago and since then, I hate her. My sister is too ashamed to even admit that we are sisters, because I am not popular, so it’s bad for her image. My best friend’s father is a drunkard and hits her daily and she is totally dependent on me like I am on her. A guy said to me that I need an attitude adjustment, and then challenged me to contest the elections. I have absolutely no family, friends and no social life. I hate myself.’ She sighed. ‘Is it possible to disappear from the world, without anyone noticing?’

‘Oh honey!’ she said worriedly, ‘There is absolutely nothing that should threaten you. So what if your mom doesn’t love you, you love her back. Maybe one day, she’ll realize that she did her greatest mistake is not loving her daughter. So what if your dad didn’t return. Just live with the faith that he always has someone looking over you, someone who will take care of you during the tough times,’ she paused. ‘Your sister is one of the foolish people to believe that her friends would stay with her forever. Yes they may, yet nothing would be able to replace your importance in her life.’

‘You think so?’ she asked quietly.

‘Yes of course. I feel you are an open book. You don’t like to keep your likes and dislikes in private. You’re not one of those who are all sweet and caring in front, and bitching behind people’s backs. And this is a quality that is admired by all, honesty. You are honest with your thoughts and that’s what makes you unique, unlike the rest.’ She spoke, suddenly serious, ‘As for the boy who challenged you, and said you needed an attitude adjustment, just prove him wrong. Like he said, contest. And win. Don’t get intimidated by him. This is just high school. What would you do when you enter the real world? ’

‘I had thought about that,’ she said earnestly, ‘but who would vote for a girl who’s not popular and social, and lacks friends and apparently needs and “attitude adjustment”?’

‘So what, you don’t let that trouble you. Make some,’ she said. ‘Well, I’m afraid time is running out Ms. Cruise. If you need some more sessions, you may take an appointment any time you like. I would be there for you,’ she smiled.

Just as Mrs. Okra started gathering her stuff, the bell rang, Jennifer hurriedly said, ‘Put my name down. On the list, will you?’ and rushed out of the room.

Unravelling Broken Threads: Chapter 4

Chapters Format

April 6, 11 pm

Dear Diary,

I wish I was never born, I wish I was never like the way I am now. I wish I could disappear from the face of the earth, with my few essentials and maybe, Alex, and never see Adrian or Jules or Nick or anybody again. Ever since dad got kicked out, I’ve had many dreams of him, where we go to a secluded forest lake and fish till all the fishes are caught. Sometimes, I see a man with a blurred face, and me, only four years old, when this man comes and picks me up and takes me away. I am pretty sure that is dad. It’s just the way he was, so kind, so peaceful, so loving, and all now seems so unfamiliar, surreal.

I knew that my dad would come one day and save me from this damned world and carry me with him, to that secluded lake in the forest I dreamt of. But yesterday, I saw an entirely different vision. I dreamt that the trailer beside the lake where I and dad lived had been burned down, and there were echoes of raucous laughter in the forest. Jules and Adrian are standing there, looking down at me, not helping me or calming me in anywhere. Suddenly, dad emerges into the scene with a knife stabbed in his back, and he dies. He dies. Then I woke up, sweating hard.

Why is it that the people we love the most are often the ones who hurt us the most? Why is it that all the people who I loved, who loved me back and who were the dearest to me have deserted me?

They were cowards. All the people who I trusted, with the exception of Alex, the people who I had faith in, turned out to be cowards. They couldn’t bear to fight the evil, the people who were bad to them, just like my dad, who couldn’t fight my mom, when she kicked him out. When he tried to make amends. When he could have avoided being stabbed.

I had been living in a bubble, a fairy tale, where everything turned out to be right at the end. Of course the truth now dawns upon me. This world that we live in is no more than a rat race, where everyone wished to be one step ahead of the rest. There are two ways it can be done, 1) Push the other behind you and 2) Run faster than the rest. Unfortunately for us, we prefer the first.

That is what Jules is doing. That is what everyone is doing. If the entire world’s an ocean, and the people on it are the fish, I’m sure I and Alex would be the deepest.

I have seen it in Alex’s eyes, her insecurity, lack of care, unconcerned and unwanted in the family, just like me. I have seen her dreams, her aspirations, unfulfilled just like mine. I have seen her love and care, unused and unseen by many, just like mine. And so she has built a wall around her, a wall penetrable by only love, pure love, devotion and serenity, just like mine. A wall breakable and penetrable by those who are truthful to self, honest to their family, humble of their achievements, fearless like the tiger, passionate like the flame of a candle, ever-consuming, thoughtful of the world and a sincere lover…. Just like me. I wish.

Jennifer.

Unravelling Broken Threads: Chapter 3

Chapters Format

Jennifer had gone through her Maths question, all of which were right. Having waited for almost thirty minutes, she was making her way across the parking when she spotted Alex, huddled in the corner bench of their school park. She made her way there hurriedly, and said, ‘Oh honey! What happened?’ she flung an arm around Alex’s shoulder and hugged her close. ‘Did Jason do something again?’ she murmured soothingly. Jason was Alex’s father.

‘N…no….’ she sobbed, as she hugged Jennifer back. ‘Ye….Yes,’ she said again.

‘Do you want to talk about it?’ she asked. ‘Because, I always feel better when I talk to someone about anything wrong.’ Do I? Interesting! ‘Do you want to talk about it?’ she asked again.

‘Can I spend the night at your house?’ she whispered so light, so innocent that it almost broke Jenny’s heart.

The bell rang. ‘Buckle up, it’s English. We need to get there before Warner does.’ Both picked their bags and ran towards the class, arriving just before professor. ‘And of course you can,’ she panted. The rest of the day, passed in a blur. Alex was pretty happy filling Jenny with the latest movie that she had just watched. Yet, Jennifer was scared. She knew that spending the night at her house, would only infuriate Jason more. All the while smiling, she was scheming a plan to get Alex rid of Jason. However nothing clicked her.

‘And then, Ted jumps in the pond to save Kara. It was all so romantic. I just wish I find someone as good as Ted, who also sympathises with me. I loved the movie so much, you should go too, Jen, you look like you could do with a break. I just wish Jason never finds out about it,’ she said during recess, as both took their seats. ‘So what did you do yesterday?’

‘Well, I watched season one of One Tree Hill. It was so good, you know, I actually might be in love with Lucas, he’s so smart,’ she giggled, and instantly stopped. She saw Nick sitting all alone, at the table opposite her, reading a book. She suddenly had the urge to call out to him, and ask him to join them, but as she raised her hand slightly, his head shot up and he smiled. Jennifer stopped instantly. How dare he? He signalled to her inviting himself. Alex stared wide-eyed at this exchange as nothing like this had ever happened to them, ever.  She waited for Jenny’s response. Jennifer, in turn shook her head vigorously and turned away rudely. After all, he wasn’t there to save her dad from being kicked out, was he?

After the school, Alex and Jenny made their way to the car and were just driving away, when Nick (who else) came, knocked at her window and said, ‘You are one old, miserable woman. You don’t know how to respect people. Probably that is why you sit by lunch all alone. I tried making friends with you, but you are acting as if you’re doing a favour by not sending me away. Get an attitude adjustment.’ He sauntered off. Both the girls were shocked. Fortunately, Alex recovered first.

‘Hey mister! You’re wrong there. She sits alone because everyone else sucks, not because she has an attitude. Get your facts right first.’ Alex shouted.

‘Yes, is that so?’ he turned around and questioned. ‘Okay! Okay, I dare you, Jennifer. The school elections are in one and a half month. Win them,’ he challenged and turned around and went away.

Jennifer drove to her house in a blur. She was hardly aware of Alex bubbling beside her. Challenge, elections, Nick, attitude. All the words clouded her mind as she made entered the house, barely noticing Jules wearing her T-shirt again, and her mother cooking cheese pasta, which she hated.

She went to her room, on autopilot, slammed the door shut and changed into the first clothes she laid her hands on. Was that idiotic Nick somewhat right? Do I really need an attitude adjustment?

‘Jen, come down. Your mom’s made pasta. Cheese Pasta.’ Alex voice broke her chain of thoughts. She thought she heard sarcasm somewhere but wasn’t really sure. Nick was still on her mind. Pushing him out of her thoughts, she went downstairs and tried to pay attention to the bland, sarcastic conversation at the dinner table.

‘Honey,’ Mrs. Cruise asked, more sweetly than was required, to Alex. Her mom knew that Jennifer hated her need for daily gossip, and that she was doing this to particularly annoy her, ‘Did Jason do something again? I mean, you suddenly coming and spending the night at Jen’s is weird.’

‘Ah no, Mrs. Cruise. He has been quite charming this week, and we are trying to mend our relationship,’ Alex replied. Jennifer knew this was false. Today’s morning’s events guaranteed this. Yet her mother could always be counted upon for embarrassing her.

‘But don’t you think Alex, that maybe, you should go counselling? I mean, this must be already hard for Jason to try and act sombre. Maybe you attending a counselling session may help better things?’ she asked curiously.

Alex, unfortunately knew Jenny’s mom too well, for she said in hypocritical kindness, ‘Mrs. Cruise, I am sure you have my best interests at heart, but managing the home since as long I as I can remember, I could have really used some advice back then, don’t you think?’ She gave her a formal smile, before going back to her soup. Mrs. Cruise looked like she had been slapped. Yet, she regained her composure, and moved on the Jennifer.

‘Jenny, how was your school today?’ Jennifer suddenly didn’t like the tone her mother used. She was sure she’d have to spend at least the next two nights at the bakers’.

‘Okay,’ she answered dejectedly.  ‘I think I’m going to skip meal today. Alex, you want to work on the English essay?’ she asked, rising from the table.

‘Yes, I’ll join you in just a moment,’ she said, picking up bread crumbs from the salad. ‘I’ll just finish of my meal,’ she said. Maybe our relationship is not that single sided. Alex is truly brave, for me.

After fifteen minutes, as Alex was moving towards Jennifer’s room on the first floor, she saw a pair of dark brown eyes, following her, from behind a slit in the curtain. She grew cautious. And moving towards the left as though going to the bathroom, she whipped around and pulled the curtain apart. She was surprised to see Jules standing there. ‘Jeez! What are you doing?’ she questioned, clutching her left as if catching her breath.

‘I wanted to talk to you,’ she whispered. She dragged her into the bathroom and locked the door behind. Then she said, ‘You know, I never thanked you because of the big favour you are doing to me by hanging out with my sister,’ she said arrogantly.

What? What the hell just happened? Jules Cruise, the most popular girl in middle school, the girlfriend of the football captain, thanking a lowly, unsocial person like Alex? That was hard to believe.

‘What do you mean?’ she asked, amazed. The next words shocked her.

‘I mean to say, thank you from keeping Jen away from me. You know I haven’t told anyone that Jen is my sister, seeing how, um, unpopular she is. It would not be cool of me, um, to tell everyone the truth. She has been trying real hard to catch my eye in the school hallways, and has been staring at me sometimes, or so my friends tell these days. I didn’t want to say that directly to Jen as I thought it might hurt her, or something. So if you’ll just convey,’ she said after a long pause, ‘my thoughts.’ And without waiting for an answer, she opened the door and left the bathroom, leaving Alex horrified.

‘That bitch!’ she stormed as she entered Jenny’s room and banged the door shut, shocked at Jules behaviour. ‘And all this time, I thought that you only exaggerated. This was beyond me. Oh that mercenary, blood-sucking, two-faced witch!’

‘What happened?’ Jenny questioned as Alex roared in the room. She was sitting on the chair, with her back toward the door, and her head resting on the table. She seemed exhausted.

‘You know, when you turn seventeen, we’ll get a job, rent a trailer and live together,’ she said as she slammed herself on the bed.

‘What happened, Alex?’ The thought worried Jenny. Alex was already notorious because of her hurried decision making. And presently, this is what scared Jennifer the most. She had already once got along with Alex’s plan, and the results were disastrous.

Two years ago, when they were fourteen, Jennifer forgot Alex’s birthday. She was punished. The punishment was that Jennifer had to convince Mr. Kale, the owner of the City Amusement Park, to let the park be open, especially for the two of them. Mr. Kale was not a kind man, and even a persuasive girl like Jenny could convince him. Finally, after a million attempts Kale agreed, provided that for the next thirty days, they had to bring seven people each day for entertainment, in order to boost the park’s reputation. They managed for the next twelve days without trouble. But then it became difficult to woo every single person that came anywhere in a five mile radius. They disguised themselves (Alex’s suggestions) and attended the park as tourists. It was during one of their tours that they were caught, and to this day, Mr Kale, had never allowed the two of them to enter their park.

‘Well your sister has asked me to keep you away from her at school, at home, at malls, at all times. She thinks that telling everyone that she’s your sister would not help her popularity in any way. Apparently, you have been staring, and ogling a lot at her at school or “so her friends tell”. So it’s better I keep you at bay,’ she stated calmly.

Jennifer looked on the verge of tears. She held them back, put on a brave face. ‘I am contesting the school elections. I will prove Jules, Nick, Adrian and everyone else wrong,’ she vowed.

That night when both Jennifer and Alex went back to bed, Alex was quite sure she heard a muffled sound of someone crying, then of blowing nose, and finally, the slow, deep breath of her friend, now fast asleep.

Unravelling Broken Threads: Chapter 2

Chapters

Jenny had a dreamless night and slept calmly.  A strange sense of lightness had crept in her heart that night, something she hadn’t experienced before. Last night was a mess, she thought. I can’t believe I cried. I have to stop acting like some weird, emotional chick, she decided as she showered. Putting on her usual white shirt, black jeans, and long brown boots, she thought of all the work that she was supposed to do. French class verbs, check. Maths trigonometry assignment, check. English questions, check. English…… Oh yes! Nick’s book.

Combing her hair, she searched for Nick’s book. She was already late. Uh, I’d say I didn’t find it, idiot! She grabbed her bag, and the car keys, climbed down the stairs, snatched the toast off the dining table, and exited the door, when she bumped into someone.

‘Oh hell!’ she said, as all her things fell out of her hands. She bent down to collect them, when knees in faded jeans came into view. ‘Are you crazy dude? Can’t you just walk properly,’ she scolded as she looked up. It was Nick. ‘What do you want? I said I’d hand over you book at school. There was no need for you to collect it.’

He just smiled and handed her all the papers that he had collected. ‘I know. While checking my bag this morning, I saw that we had exchanged our books, that I had yours-’

‘I know what an exchange is. Thanks.’ She interrupted, rather rudely.

‘I thought you might be searching for it, so I decided to drop by and hand it over to you,’ he said coolly, and rose up.

‘First of all, thank you for your consideration. But, to think of it, it might have been a consideration only if you had considered coming half an hour earlier,’ she shouted at the last four words, with her hands dusting her knees. ‘I have been looking for it everywhere. You stay clear of me, understand? And if I were you, I’d avoid dropping by,’ she said warningly. Storming ahead of him, she moved into her car and drove away.

‘I don’t know how I’ll manage in this town if all people are like this,’ Nick said as he made his way across to the car.

Jennifer never gave her sister the ride to school. She had enough friends to do that. What she was worried about today was the fact that Jules may herself ask Jenny to give her the ride. She didn’t want to hear how her date with Mark went and how Louise/Louisa, her so-called best friend happened to meet Jack secretly, behind the school walls. So on her way to school, she was silently congratulating herself on having managed to evade Jules for the rest of the day. That is how she did it. Congratulate. Eat. Drink. Talk. Work. Play. Celebrate. All silently. It was rare and uncharacteristic that she opened up to Alex. They were going strong, however, Jennifer understood Alex to be the dependent one, not the other way round. It would ruin the balance.

Ms. Adrian Foxx had married Mr. Brad Cruise, when she was barely seventeen, after a whirlwind romance at high school. Adrian never had imagined that she would have baby at nineteen, but Brad wanted it so much that she consented. Jennifer was born. That was the start of the bad times. Brad went into business and opened three casinos in Vegas. Most of his time went in work. He became successful and opened up four more franchises, three in the U.S.A. and one in Europe. He became busier, when suddenly one day, newspapers declared, “Cruise Casinos Fraud: $40 million at stake.” The next morning, Adrian woke up and found that their house had been stripped of all valuables and that Brad had cheated on her, and run away. What she told Jennifer was that Adrian and Brad couldn’t make things work and so Brad left them. Jennifer felt as though Adrian had kicked Brad out and she grew detached and suddenly stopped talking to her. Adrian, thinking that Jenny was not taking this finely, adopted Jules as she didn’t want Jennifer to be lonely.

Jennifer was thinking about her broken family when she reached school. She parked her car at her slot and waited for Alex to come. She took out her Maths question in the car and was about open it, when she heard a knock on the door. It was Nick. She groaned, not bothering to hide her frustration.

She rolled down her windows, ‘Didn’t you get what I said at the house today? ‘If I were you, I’d avoid dropping by’, right?’

‘Right, but you forgot this.’ He held his hand up, showing a battered, yellow diary. She snatched it out of his hands. ‘This is personal, how dare you touch it?’ she growled.

‘Simple, this fell from your bag when you turned. I didn’t read it.’ He watched her, fascinated, as she examined her diary. ‘So, you want to show me around?’ He asked, unperturbed by her anger.

‘Of course not!’ she said, surprised.

‘Why, you may enjoy my company,’ he replied, smiling. She glared at him with such animosity that his smile faded slowly, and he turned back, went away, muttering vehemently all the way.

‘What a weird guy,’ she commented, getting out of the car.

Unravelling Broken Threads: Chapter 1

Chapter 1

The girl sat with her laptop on her knees, watching the reruns of her favourite serial, One Tree Hill. She had never understood how she fell in love with it. But, yet, she was here, watching the reruns when her mother called out to her. “Jenny, don’t you ever have to study?” she shouted.

‘Mom,’ she shouted back, ‘it’s a Sunday. Would you please let me do this while I can?’

She almost snapped. Last week was the first at her school; she was starting 11th, the most dangerous class of all time. And she hated her mom. It was something that happened earlier. She didn’t want to talk about it now. Even without her family troubles, she had a lot on her mind. She had a younger sister, Jules, who she didn’t mix well with; her dad was a womaniser and left their family for another woman, Linda, four years ago.

It was Alex, Alexandra Wilson, who she loved. Alex was her best friend she had met at school. With straight brown hair, and 5”9 body, her pale skin and light blue eyes, she and Alex were exact opposites. Alex stood six inches shorter, blonde hair, with black eyes and whitish skin.

Yet, there was something, something more that friendship that bound them together. It was the love Jennifer had never felt for her sister, sisterly love. Alex had a drunkard father and her mother was dead.

One day, seven years ago, Jenny was returning from the park after her “evening walk”, which she looked forward to as it meant getting free of her crazy household. It was a cold day, with slight signs of rain. She was hunched up and moving fast, when she saw a thin, small girl, barely covered standing in front of a house. She was crying and kept pounding at the door sporadically. Jenny took the girl along with her to her house. That was the beginning of their friendship.

It still took a lot of nerve for Alex to stand up to her dad. Sometimes Jenny helped her with it. ‘What are friends for, after all?’ she said.  Since then, the two unpopular, lonely girls always sat together, in the classes, the cafeteria, and even took the ride to school and back to home together and they were happy.

Suddenly, the door banged open and her sister entered. Jenny jumped. ‘What the hell are you doing?’ she asked, surprised. ‘Wait, is that my T-shirt you’re wearing?’ she shouted as she noticed. She got of the bed and ran towards Jules, who stood unruffled by this sudden outburst. ‘Give it to me! How dare you touch my closet, you moron! I want it right back.’ Jennifer yelled again, hands akimbo.

‘Jen, I need to have this. I have, uh, to go somewhere,’ she said vaguely. Jennifer narrowed her eyes. She did that a lot these days. Her sister had inherited their father’s features, or so their mother said. It was because of that, on her entering middle school, she was very popular, always the one with hundred friends, the one who dated, who partied. Jenny despised these types of girls, but yet she envied them. She admired Jules good looks. A straight long nose, long wavy brown hair, brown eyes and a firm jaw. She had a slender body, even graceful, unlike the tread that Jenny owned, yet she was athletic and of course, a part of their school, Bowman High school’s cheering girls. And she did a good job of ignoring her dumb, unsocial sister at school, Jennifer even felt bad sometimes.

‘Don’t call me Jen. I’m Jennifer,’ she affirmed. ‘Where? You have to go where?’ she asked finally.

‘I have a date with Mark,’ Jules said, unconcerned. Obviously, the football kid. He and Jules had been spending a lot of time together. Jenny thought something had been cooking. Well, at least I wasn’t proven wrong.

‘Still, the answer’s a no. I am not allowing you to wear this. Remove it!’ she charged for her Tshirt and  starting tugging at the cloth. A raging quarrel followed, when finally their mother appeared, completely out of breath. It was clear that she had come running upstairs. Hers was a small duplex house, three bedrooms, a kitchen, and a living room where they dined. Jennifer had a room all by herself at the top floor, while Jules and Mrs. Cruise shared a one at the ground floor. One was kept as the guest room, often occupied by Grandma Cruise who came to stay a lot.  A small porch added to the compact surrounding, a quite contrast to the atmosphere inside the house at the moment.

‘Christ!’ she said. ‘What is all this shouting Jenny? I thought you had been studying,’ she panted.
‘Well now you know I wasn’t,’ she snapped.
‘That is no way to talk to your mother.  You are sixteen, when would you start acting responsibly?’ she questioned.
‘The day you would,’ she replied, a cold sneer on her face.

A long silence ensued. Finally after what seemed like an hour, she asked, ‘What was all this about?’

‘I wore her T-shirt without asking,’ Jules burst out. ‘If I knew it would be such an issue, I wouldn’t have touched the bloody thing!’ she shouted. Removing the T-shirt and flinging it on the floor, she marched out of the room, back downstairs.

A threatening look passed over her mother’s face. ‘This was a T-shirt. You made a mess out of it. I don’t know what you think of yourself, but you are no Queen Victoria. You are not to behave that way to neither me nor Jules, or for that matter, anyone at school as well. If you put another toe out of the line, I’ll make sure that you don’t forget it easily,’ she glowered at her, before shouting, ‘Jules, I’m coming, sweetheart!’ and left the room.

‘Talk about stepping out of line,’ she muttered. She wasn’t the least scared of her mother. She knew what would happen if she did. She would be thrown out of the house and be expected to spend the night outside. Yet she found a solution to that. Mr. John, the old baker who lived down the street was a kind man. He had no children, so Jennifer always managed his shop when he had to go somewhere. During nights like these, he would let Jennifer to sleep at the shop, without turning the heater off. Apart from Alex, she liked him the most.

Many often she had wondered if she made a list of the people she liked, where her mother and Jules would stand. But she was sure that it wouldn’t be before a hundred of two. Not that she had tried this, but still she had wondered so.

She was just making her way back to the bed to return to the serial, when her phone rang. She rushed to pick it up.

‘Alex, hi honey! I forgot to call you, it’s just that….’ She said instantly and trailed off. It was a boy.
‘Hello? Jennifer?’ he asked, hesitatingly.
‘Yes?’ she replied. ‘What do you want?’ she asked rudely.
‘I am not sure that you identify me. I’m Nick, Nicholas. I sat by you on Thursday at English.’ Then she remembered. A tall, lanky boy, with dark brown hair that often fell on his forehead, and white skin, the new boy.
‘Yeah, so?’ She was bored of his decent voice and wanted to cut the line. It, however, would look too indecent.
‘I am not sure, but I think you took my English book by mistake. So if you-’
She interrupted, ‘Okay, I will look. If I find it, then I’ll give you tomorrow.’ She cut the line.

She crossed the room and lay down. She suddenly felt exhausted. Shutting the laptop and without changing her clothes, she stared at the ceiling till her eyes welled up with tears. Remembering something, she whispered, ‘You know I loved you once, mom,’ she said, before she started weeping on the pillow, silently, and drifted off to sleep.